Library of Heaven is Path
1302 Challenging Zhang Xuan
"You slept your way through?" Zhang Jiuxiao widened his eyes, flabbergasted, unable to comprehend what was going on.
He asked how Zhang Xuan became a student of the Elite Division, hoping to learn from his experiences, but the latter told him that... he slept the way through?
"Indeed. Not everyone will be able to handle three whole days of it straight!" Zhang Xuan continued with a tone reminiscent of a forlorn expert who was unable to find a single person who could rival him.
To be honest, he never thought that he would actually be able to sleep for three days in a single go, and he was truly shocked when he woke up. But thinking back, it was really well worth it.
Even if he were to remain awake, there was also nothing much he could do. There were too many flaws in the Divine Eyes of the Ninth Netherworld, so it was impossible for him to continue cultivating it. On the other hand, Sage Kui, for some inexplicable reason to him, seemed to be overly traumatized by what he had said as well. Rather than being placed in an awkward position for three whole days, it was really a much wiser decision to use this time to refresh himself for his future journey in the Sanctum of Sages.
After all, having the time to sleep his fill was a luxury that he might not be able to afford anymore later on.
"Three whole days straight?" Zhang Jiuxiao had an expression that looked as if he had seen a ghost. "Zhang shi, you mean to say that while we were busy clearing tests in the Mountain Gate, not daring to rest for an instant for fear of being overtaken, you were actually sleeping for three days straight?"
"Indeed. I didn't think that I would be able to sleep for so long either…" Zhang Xuan replied with a bitter smile.
"Despite sleeping for three days, you were still able to qualify as a student of the Elite Division…" Gulping down a mouthful of saliva, Zhang Jiuxiao felt that he was going mad.
From the moment he entered the Mountain Gate, he had been doing everything he could to showcase his talents, fearing that a second of rest would mean the difference between success and failure. Yet, the young man before him actually slept the three days through, and even so, he was still able to make it into the Elite Division... Could the world be any more unfair than this?
"Third Young Master Xue, beautifully done!"
While Zhang Jiuxiao was about to explode from shock, a wave of cheerings suddenly broke out in the surroundings. Raising his gaze, he saw that the duel on the stage had already concluded.
The challenger, Zhao Qi, had been tightly bound by the Golden Silk Thread like a cocoon. No matter how hard he struggled, he found himself unable to move at all.
Xue Ning's Golden Silk Thread might have been ineffective against Zhang Xuan, but it was still a formidable weapon against most other cultivators. Zhao Qi wasn't weak either, but he was still eventually cornered by it.
"I admit defeat!" With dejection glooming between his brows, Zhao Qi sighed deeply and conceded defeat.
He thought that since the difference in score between the both of them wasn't too big, with a little bit of luck, he should be able to emerge victorious. However, from the looks of it now, it seemed like the Mountain Gate examination was indeed fair and impartial. Its ability to accurately gauge the capability of each candidate was unquestionable.
"I'm willing to accept the punishment!" After being freed, Zhao Qi left behind these words before walking down the ring quietly.
Seeing that the first duel had concluded, Elder Liu asked once more with a smile, "Is there anyone else who wishes to issue a challenge?"
"I wish to issue a challenge! The person I want to challenge is the person in the 50th rank, Zhang Xuan!" A loud bellow boomed across the square, and a figure leaped onto the stage.
"It's the 52nd rank Meng Fanxing!"
"He's the offspring of the Sage Clan, Meng Clan. Even though his bloodline is only at Tier-2, his cultivation has reached Half-Grand Dominion realm!"
"How could someone like him possibly tolerate having the Primordial Spirit realm pinnacle Zhang Xuan getting into the Elite Division when he couldn't qualify for it?"
"Indeed. As soon as the Challenge of the Defeated was announced, I knew that there would surely be plenty of people who would want to challenge Zhang Xuan. Not only is his cultivation realm low, more importantly, he's taking up the very last seat to the Elite Division. There's bound to be many people eyeing his position!"
"That reminds me, I just heard news from a friend of mine in the Sanctum of Sages. I can't verify whether it's true or not, but it's said that Zhang Xuan had never gotten into the top five hundred throughout the course of the examination. It was only when the Jade Tablet of Trials refreshed for the final time that his name suddenly appeared in the 50th place, taking up the very last slot for the Elite Division. In other words... his score just increased by more than 10,000 points all of a sudden!"
"His score increased by more than 10,000 points all of a sudden? Isn't that obviously cheating?"
"Well, we can't really say for sure at this point yet. If he has really cheated, the Sanctum of Sages would have dealt with him."
Hearing that someone had challenged Zhang Xuan, a huge commotion immediately broke out in the surroundings.
Amidst the crowd, Zhang Qian's eyes also reddened in excitement.
The happenings in the Hall of Result had begun spreading amidst the crowd, and quite a few people were already aware of the peculiarity in Zhang Xuan's results. Every single one of them was interested to see just what kind of unique ability did that master teacher named Zhang Xuan possessed to be able to qualify as a student of the Elite Division.
Elder Liu and Elder Han Zhu also turned their gazes over. They wanted to see the young man's performance so as to have the doubts they had been harboring answered.
"You want to challenge me? Sure!"
On the other hand, Zhang Xuan didn't think that someone would challenge him, and he shook his head helplessly. With a leap, he headed up the dueling ring as well.
As much as he wanted to keep a low profile and stay out of trouble, he wasn't someone who was afraid to stir the pot. If someone wanted to take his place, the other party would do well to show strength worthy of doing so!
"May I know what kind of test did Zhang shi undergo in the Mountain Gate examination? I'll just compete with you on whatever you faced in there!" Meng Fanxing harrumphed with a slight hint of disdain in his voice.
"What kind of a test I just underwent? But I just woke up and I don't feel like sleeping anymore... Forget it, let's not waste our time then. Why don't we just settle it with a normal duel?" Zhang Xuan thought about the previous examination he had and shook his head.
He had just slept for three days straight, and it hadn't been even an hour since he had woken up. If he were to compete with the other party right now in who could sleep for a longer period of time, he would definitely be in a disadvantageous position. Besides, the crowd wouldn't be interested in watching such a duel either.
All in all, it would be much more convenient to settle it with a fight, just like what Xue Ning did earlier.
It would be swift, trouble-free, and more importantly, effective.
"You want to have a duel with me? Are you serious?" Meng Fanxing stared at Zhang Xuan was if he was looking right at a fool.
I am a Half-Grand Dominion realm expert whereas you are just at Primordial Spirit realm pinnacle... Are you certain that you want to have a match with me?
You aren't daydreaming at the moment, are you?
"Un." Zhang Xuan nodded affirmatively.
"Very well. I'll suppress my cultivation to the same level as you then." Meng Fanxing nodded before swiftly suppressing his cultivation down to Primordial Spirit realm pinnacle.
After which, he got into an offensive stance and said, "Let's begin then."
"Very well." Zhang Xuan replied.
In truth, it didn't matter much to him whether Meng Fanxing suppressed his cultivation or not. However, since the other party had already done so, he couldn't be bothered to waste his breath either. It was not like there would have been a difference in the outcome anyway.
With a swift dash, Zhang Xuan's figure suddenly appeared right before Meng Fanxing, and his hand darted forward to strike the latter.
"You…" In the face of the palm strike, Meng Fanxing felt as if the world was crushing down on him.
He found that the space around him had been completely sealed, be it his front, back, left, or right, rendering it completely impossible for him to flee.
In an instant, Meng Fanxing's breathing rapidly hastened to the point where he was wheezing for air, and his face turned completely red.
But before the palm strike could land, Zhang Xuan abruptly withdrew his hand.
Due to the strike and the withdrawal of the palm happening in quick succession, to the eyes of most spectators, it would appear that he was only carrying out a particularly crude feint.
But it was such a move that caused Meng Fanxing's head to turn completely blank in an instant, almost as if someone had used a sword to sever his flow of thoughts. His body staggered in a manner reminiscent of a drunk man for a moment before collapsing to the ground with a resounding 'padah!'.
Meng Fanxing had fainted.
"What happened? I didn't even sense the slightest disturbance in the spiritual energy in the air, so why would Meng Fanxing faint all of a sudden?"
"I'm not too sure either. All I saw was Zhang Xuan's feint…"
The crowd stared at one another in bewilderment, unable to make sense of the situation before them.
The movements of Zhang Xuan's previous palm strike was extremely simple, consisting of just a forward thrust and a withdrawal. There didn't seem to be anything particularly ingenious about it, and there wasn't even any zhenqi infused into the strike. Yet, such an attack actually left Meng Fanxing fixated on the spot, not attempting to dodge it at all, and even though the attack didn't land, he still fainted on the spot... What was going on?
Even though the square was filled with 7-star master teachers, each and every single one of them were confounded by what they were seeing.
"What a formidable palm strike!" In contrast to the looks of incomprehension from the crowd, Elder Liu remarked with narrowed eyes.
As a Saint 8-dan expert, he was able to notice what was wrong with the palm strike in an instant.
"The imposing momentum behind the palm makes one believe that it's a physical attack, but the truth is that it's an attack directed right at the soul instead. It aims to wedge in overwhelming pressure and helplessness into its target's mind, forcing it into a state of extreme tension. Then, when the pressure abruptly vanishes, the instinctive relaxation of the mind results in a massive amount of blood leaving the brain, thus bringing about a faint spell!"
Elder Han Zhu also nodded in agreement to Elder Liu's analysis, "Indeed. While the mind and body may seem separate, huge fluctuations in emotions can affect a person's physical state tremendously. What this palm utilizes is fear tactic. But still, to be able to make his opponent faint with just a casual strike devoid of any surge of zhenqi or powerful emanation of aura... Just how precise is his control over his soul energy?"
As simple as it may seem in theory, carrying it out in practice was fraught with difficulties. Putting all aside, even he would find it difficult to achieve such a feat if he were to suppress his cultivation down to Primordial Spirit realm pinnacle.
"It seems like there's indeed something extraordinary about Zhang Xuan after all. Looks like there's nothing wrong with the results in the Mountain Gate examination." Elder Liu nodded.
While it was unlikely for there to be any problems with the point allocation system of the Jade Tablet of Trials, he had wondered if the young man had received his results through sheer luck. However, from the looks of it now, it was apparent that there was no such thing as luck in the outcome of the Mountain Gate examination. It was either one had the capability or one didn't.
When Meng Fanxing finally roused to once more, his dazed look swiftly turned into a face reddened in embarrassment as it dawned upon him what had just happened, and he muttered in disbelief, "I've lost…"
He had no idea how it happened, but he actually fainted from a single blow. How embarrassing!
"It's fine." Zhang Xuan replied.
"I'm willing to accept my punishment…" Knowing that he had failed the challenge, Meng Fanxing gritted his teeth tightly.
"There's no need for that. We are all students from the Sanctum of Sages, so it's nothing much for us to have a casual duel with one another." Zhang Xuan replied with a smile.
To be honest, he only received this placing due to Sage Kui tampering with the score, so it was normal that the other party would harbor some doubts toward his strength.
"Zhang shi is really a magnanimous person. It's no wonder why you were able to become a student of the Elite Division, I'm impressed!" Meng Fanxing clasped his fist and bowed respectfully.
To be able to keep an open heart before the skepticism and doubts of others, he was really still lacking in his cultivation of the mind as compared to the young man before him.
"You're too polite." Zhang Xuan replied with a nod as he began making his way down the stage.
However, a voice suddenly sounded at this moment, "Hold it for a moment! I also wish to try out Zhang shi's hand too!"
Turning his head over, Zhang Xuan saw a familiar face walking up.
It was the man whom he had smacked to the ground with a single palm prior to the start of the Mountain Gate examination, Zhang Qian!
"Did that fellow fail to see through my strength?" Seeing that the other party was still intent on challenging him despite all that had happened, Zhang Xuan's eyebrows shot up.
It was one thing if Zhang Qian had never challenged him before, but the fact that the other party couldn't even withstand a simple palm strike from him should be sufficient to highlight the vast disparity in strength between the both of them. Yet, to challenge him at this moment... Did he think that he hadn't been humiliated enough yet?
"It's Zhang Qian! Wasn't he defeated already?"
"I don't get it either. Why would he challenge Zhang Xuan again at this point?"
"Could he have some kind of trump card which he hasn't used yet?"
"Well, he's placed in the 51st place after all. How could he give up without a fight?"
Most of those in the crowd were also aware that the both of them had traded blows in the past, and looks of bewilderment surfaced on their faces.
It was just three days ago that Zhang Qian was utterly defeated by Zhang Xuan, so wasn't it just pure foolishness to challenge him once more at this point?
"You want to have a duel with me?" Zhang Xuan shot a glance toward Zhang Qian and asked.
"That's right! However, since you are from the Elite Division, surely you wouldn't make me fight you with my cultivation suppressed, would you?" Zhang Qian harrumphed.
Zhang Xuan shrugged, "You can choose not to suppress your cultivation if you want to."
"Very well, let's begin then!" Zhang Qian's smile curled up triumphantly as a powerful aura burst forth from him.
"Half-Grand Dominion realm? No wonder." Feeling the strength emanated by the other party, Zhang Xuan nodded in realization.
That would explain why Zhang Qian still dared to challenge him despite the humiliating defeat he had suffered the previous time around. It seemed like he had managed to achieve a breakthrough in his cultivation over the past three days!